Why Traveling with My Family Again Scares the Shit Out of Me- Why Not to Family World Travel
We hit the road in less than two weeks and I’m not sure that that is a good thing. We were out of our house for three and a half years and discovered a world of beauty, magic, love, and blessing; and also the darker shades of insanity, depression, stuckness, and sweat. We leave for Sweden, Latvia, Finland, and Estonia for the entire summer, and while I’m really happy to be on the road again with my tribe; I’m also really scared.
This morning (again) was tough, as sometimes family life is. Sometimes it’s tough in a closed, cramped vehicle; sometimes it’s tough in the living room; sometimes (often) [lately, usually] the kids can fight (ferociously) and Kobi and I (against our better wise-parent judgement) get entangled in their drama and in the unpredictable storms of shifting hormones/middle school woes/self-esteem messes/adolescent confusion/sibling rivalry and we drown. Well, I’ll speak for myself. I drown.
Highly Sensitive Person
I am a highly sensitive person. Always have been; most likely, always will be. I feel things intensely. Take things intensely. Absorb the negative energy and shit from others intensely. And it sticks. I have many tools (some of which I successfully use) to protect my fragile lovely inner child from the harshness of life, but often, I realize it a bit too late.
Back to Why I Started to Write to You
Yes. So, here, at home, in the also heavenly sides of domesticated life, I have a bedroom and a bed, a very comfortable one, and when things go south and I feel myself overwhelmed, I discovered this lovely little retreat called go-to-my-room-and-close-the-door, followed by taking-a-nap and it’s like magic. Everything gets better.
Or plan B: go-to-the-garden-and-sit-on-the-swing.
Or plan C: go-to-the-garden-and-garden.
Or plan D: go-for-a-walk-or-do-my-exercises.
Or plan E: clean-my-house.
and they all offer me respite from the sometimes insanity of being together.
I’m scared because one of the many things I often write about that we learned on the road was that you can no longer escape family dysfunction. It’s there, right in your face, right in that room you’re sharing, right in the space you co-occupy and there is no ‘escaping’ to your job, your school, your room, your busy-ness. There is just dealing with it, throwing it up all over each other, and putting it right out there for everyone to do snow angels in like in that awesome scene in Pitch Perfect where ‘the one who ate her sister in the womb’ just does that.
[In the following video, the snow angel part starts at 1:38. Too cuuuuuuuute:]
So, I’ve gotten used to being busy, to not dealing when I feel like I don’t want to (which has become the norm), and suddenly, to know that again I’ll be that vulnerable, that stuck, that raw, that functional with my family again scares the shit out of me.
For a dozen reasons that I understand and two dozen that I don’t, it’s become the trend around here to fight, to be mean, to be gross to each other, and it’s so not nice to watch and even worse to be a part of. I guess, no, I know, that this too shall pass and that this too is just a normal family yucky spot we have to ride through. I know also that Kobi and I have a great deal of power to be together on this, to keep talking to each other about how to remain wise and loving parents, to keep guiding our family and pushing ‘refresh’ and to not to take the ugly attitude as personal or to allow it to control things. We’re realllllllllly trying here.
Why You Shouldn’t Travel with Your Kids
Reason 1- You can’t escape the relationship and personality developments that are begging to be addressed and given love to. You can’t escape yourself. When you travel, you are vulnerable to it all and if you don’t want to deal, don’t travel.
69. No matter how far I go, I’m always still there, me and all my hang-ups, gremlins, and issues to work through, and the more I travel, the more time and blessed opportunities I have to really progress on the development of all the perfectly imperfect sides of who I am. – I Know Nothing and 99 Other Things the Road Has Taught Me
Reason 2- You will lose your safety net, your home, your bedroom, your friends, your hood and all the little and huge things that make you feel safe and snugly. You cannot carry your security blankets with you and traveling (again) leaves you vulnerable to not only who your family members are, but also to all that you are. How do you handle stress? The unknown? What you cannot control AT ALL? Get ready to find out.
I was just matching socks on the deck in the sun. Kitty cat is sleeping behind me, cuddling up on Solai’s bed with her turtle stuffed animals, meditation music is playing in the living room where Kobi is redoing all the mosquito screens of the windows and doors, and this white orange-tipped butterfly flirts with me in the sun. This is who I am today. Laundry. Cat. Butterfly. Sun. Husband. -12 Days Back in Israel, 10 Insights from the Home Front
Reason 3- You lose the healthy routines and quirky habits you had developed over the years. If you’re used to organizing the kitchen counter like this, drinking your kambucha and shakes for breakfast, and making your bedroom look just so- drop it. When you travel, you cannot live with all the little pet peeve preventions and idiosyncrasies and lovely little routines you carved out for your sanity and well-being. You’ll be a fish out of water so deal. You can’t possibly carry around the blender and a million other things you’ve learned to be dependent on for your life. You. Can’t.
Reason 4- You will be with your children 24/7 and for the good (and there is soooo much good) and the bad [I plead the fifth], you will be there, often in the same closed vehicle/room/space for endless periods of time. You will become, in addition to psychologist, chauffeur, judge and jury, teacher, and nurse, also friend, cuz your kids won’t have any for much of your adventure and you will now get the joy (and the massive weight) of being also that.
Reason 5- You will not be alone for a very long time. Though it can be planned and executed, if alone time was a normal thing that you thrived on and that gave you tons of energy to be your best, you will now have to find other ways (including technology babysitter) to find alone time.
I sought to come to India and leave my family to create a sacred space to dive deeply into my spiritual and physical healing. I sought to heal that Chronic Pain and Dysfunction and release all the emotional and spiritual layers of trauma from this and past lives that had built up and were causing multiple manifestations of physical demise. I sought to spent days on end as a Monk-in-a-Cave.
Note to Self and Reader
I love travel and have spent our first year “at home” moving non-stop. I was alone in India for 3 months this year, Kobi went backpacking for 2, and now we’re off to 2 months of adventure. So even in ‘stability’ we are moving and changing and exploring, and with each and every single shift (from nomadic family to arriving to Israel to war in Israel to moving back into our home to middle school horrors to alone in India to single motherhood to joint parenthood again to family travel again) there are ripples. As I’m about to set out on the road with my tribe again, I have insights, things that are clear to me beyond the obvious and blessed excitement and joy of traveling again that I always breath into my deepest cells. This seemingly ‘negative’ line of thinking is just real and raw and (like I always promise) the raw, teary, and sweaty sides that you may not hear elsewhere. It is my freaking-out truth right before I leave the little home life I again adore (cat included) and go out to The Unknown as The Nomadic Family. If you have not traveled long-term with your family, or have stopped before and hit the road again, you should know and be able to relate, loves.
Life rushes, gushes, crashes, whirls and flows like powerful waves and river currents colliding, and I sit here, observing my own tingling excitement in my chest rise and fall, and I realize that for my last four days in India, I would rather be within, than “without”. I would rather spend time alone in my room, soaking up aloneness than be out there with the lovely community of Goan family and friends I now have. I am about to leave the only time in my life that I have lived alone, for my loud, dramatic, and perfectly buzzing family, and four weeks after that, as Kobi goes backpacking for two months, to single motherhood.
I believe the best way for me to embrace that shift is to be silent. In between these last errands, shipping, saying goodbye; I will spend as many moments, no hours, alone, with music, with writing, with being in silence.
I’m alone for the first time in forever. Forever. And it feels lovely. It’s not one of those midnight-oil alones either. It’s one of those now-rare middle-of-day-totally-quiet-sunshine-breeze-blowing-delightful-alones and I can’t tell you how deeply, fully, completely my soul is grateful for this extended moment.
Alone fills me with reflection, wisdom, space and light. Alone I can see the wind, feel her, be her as she brushes again the wind chimes and the shells beads and caresses me with connectiveness and perspective and life.
62. When you realize that you are just another butt in the wind, that no one cares that your butt has been all over the globe, or that your butt sat in university for thousands of hours to earn a Master’s , or that your butt farts in several languages, but that you are just a butt, like everyone else, you begin to be free. – I Know Nothing and 99 Other Things the Road Taught Me
We Are Normal
No matter how much Facebook and blogs glamorize themselves and take happy photos of perfect lives, and no matter how often I sometimes fall into the Everyone-has-figured-out-how-to-do-life-better-than-me, I will always pick up. Here are a few of the little [huge] inspirations that pick me up and remind me what I need to know.
The gravity of truth sunk in and could no longer be denied. We either had to embrace who we had become or create who we wanted to be. – 12 Days Back Home, 10 Insights
Some of my home-made favorites include:
6- and maybe my favorite just because the video is unreal (God, how they’ve grown) Blessed Chaos
And still… always there is that undying optimism/life-joy/list of things to be utterly grateful for that I find again, even as I sink, I find it and hold a root (like dukkha), and pull myself back up, inch by inch. Like in:
Also, I will always continue to share with you the real, the raw, the sweaty, and the beautiful so that, at least here you know it won’t be a you-can-be-perfect-and-happy-too blog but a welcome-to-the-hood-sista blog. [Note: I really do live for your comments. That way I know you are vibrating in my frequency, loves]
50. If I had known how joyful and free our souls would become while travel, I would have done this years and years earlier. – I Know Nothing and 99 Other Things The Road Taught Me
For When Life on the Road When it Gets Raw
Here are a few little things that I take with me when I need to be re-reminded of the blessing of it all. I often get lost, and I am wiser and more beautiful when I have inspiration near me.
1-Trusting the Universe
2- Stop Taking Life so Seriously
3- Not Alone Here
4- Magical Me, Magical Life
5- How Much Fun Our Kids Are, Dancing, Singing, Enjoying all the Life Joy
Yes, it’s time to stop taking the ichy so seriously and to give it soooo much space that I fail to see the magical, goofy, unreal, gorgeous which is also so much a part of our lives. We’re ingrained and wired like that. Playing more music again. That alwaaaaaaays makes us all goofy and bonded.
So, the wind has reminded me how blessed we are, how precious our kids are, and how they too need to have this safe space where they can fight, negotiate, learn to deal with difficult people, and feel comfortable enough to take off the God damn mask and be real. I accept this and embrace it (even though, still, sometimes, it’s so hard to hug a rose with thorns). This. I. Embrace.
And we’re going to hit the road and it’s going to be beautiful and sweaty, unreal and desperate and raw, and a million other shades of life, and all of them, I will embrace with the love and blessings that come with this little plot of mobile heaven.
Yes, you. Fairy dust (again) is the magic phrase. If you’ve actually read until this point, leave a comment somehow integrating ‘fairy dust’ into your thoughts and I’ll flap my wings at you as I wink.
Photo credit: feature image I want to smack people 🙂
ABOUT THE NOMADIC FAMILY:
The Nomadic Family of five spent three and a half years settling into small communities in 16 countries world-wide. Now, they are acclimating back into life in Northern Israel and the story continues. Gabi lived alone in India for 3 months this winter, Kobi is going backpacking for 2 months alone this Spring, and the family will spend this summer in Sweden, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland. Follow their adventures as they share their emotional journey, their spiritual growth; their falling apart and coming back together, the real ups and downs, the sticky, painful, colorful, and magical moments of life on the road and back home.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Insanely unorthodox, embarrassingly honest, and on her path towards spiritual awareness, Gabi Klaf blogs about her family’s ups and downs in their now third year of non-stop budget world travel. This family of five has lived with an indigenous tribe in the jungles of Ecuador, hitchhiked throughout the world, danced with drunk Vietnamese at weddings, and hiked the entire Annapurna Circuit trek with a documentary film crew in tow. Gabi writes about the untold sides of family travel life, those moments that take your breath away, adventures and mishaps while globetrotting, and how bits of her soul remain in this small town and off the side of that river. She is a guitar-stumming, energy-healing, ADHD wind-loving scaredy cat. Hugely romantic, tantalizingly sweet, and hysterically funny, Gabi Klaf represents a rare Rubik’s Cube of family world adventure.
We’re out doing crazy stuff and making our dreams come true, every single one of them, and a few more that sort of flew into our mouths while we were smiling into the wind. Should you like what we are doing as a family, BUY AN EBOOK to support us, share this, tell any media source or local newspaper, leave a comment. Your footprint makes all the difference in the world friends. Gracias!
Gabi and Kobi, Dahnya, Orazi, and Solai
And, sweet new news loves: In addition to parenting, family life and trauma therapy, Gabi is now offering Make Your Dreams Come True/We Wanna Travel But.. Coaching too. Engage with Gabi!